When you hear the 10000th death metal record in your life, can you easily get enthusiastic about it? No you can't, of course. And when you hear one that doesn't introduce anything new into the genre, how's then? Well, is there anything that could be introduced to this brutal style of metal music anyways? Maybe not, I think.
But... From time to time there comes a band that deserves to be noticed. Sweden's My Own Grave is one of them. To tell the truth, I've never heard them prior to this mini-CD, but they've done a big bunch of demos and one full-legth platter, too. This would have been even more spectacular, if this was the band's first effort, but no... 'Unholy' is fucking intense! Although Pulverised Records market the band as "old school death metal", My Own Grave are very vital indeed. Expect nothing like old Entombed, Dismember or Grave. 'Unholy' is a blast from the 1990s. The band's Swedish roots do not show that much, because this sounds pretty universal; it could come from Central Europe, as well as from USA. Even though the band operate a lot on blast speed, there's a lot of technical stuff in their music, but no jazz-wank, just pure riff-based death metal with a hint of thrash. The band effectively vary the pace between fast blast and mid-paced heaviness. The first two songs are into-the-point fast pieces, giving real chastisement. Cthulhu-related (the rest of the lyrics are unholy) 'Beneath Dark Waves' is my personal favourite, a commanding mid-paced necksnapper a bit in vein of good old Obituary. 'God Forbid' is a thrashier piece, while 'Cross after Cross' is another plunge into death metal with heavy Vomitory/Necrophobic feel to it. The songs are catchy, filled with fine riffage and vital drumming, and compositions work well for the most of the time. Vocals are growled with a dryish voice so, that one can understand the words. The production job is exemplary; it is heavy yet nothing is engulfed under the mass of brutal sounds.
Only rarely is a mini-album truly worth the high asking price they tend to carry (usually around 10 fucking Euros for 15 minutes of usually old material), but My Own Grave deliver such a lethal strike with 'Unholy', that it would be stupid for any death metal fanatic to let this go past their fingers. At least if the price is right... The only negative aspect about the band is that they sound familiar to any seasoned death metal fanatic's ears. Here's five new powerful songs wrapped inside great covers, but I would've liked to enjoy this for more than just for 17 minutes!
Rating: 7+ (out of 10) ratings explained
Reviewed by Lane